The scene: a dark corridor. A high door in a steel frame, red padded leather. A darker corner beside the door. Stealthy scritching.
“Oh hello. You can’t be…?”
“Really, it can’t be. But you look so familiar: eight legs, round brown body. I mean, how many of you can there be? Besides, I’m sure I recognize that left foreleg.”
Left first front foreleg twitches.
“It’s the music, right? I mean, last time you were in the corner of the loo. Now you’re by the door. Or… Are you here to say goodbye?”
“No, I’m just being silly. I mean, it’s been years, and besides, that one’s very purpose was to terrify me by threatening to run over my toes in the middle of the night.”
“What do you mean, you were only joking? How on earth was I supposed to know it was a joke?”
“It is you. That is so weird. But really, could you stop the Czech laughing? It doesn't really tell me it's funny. It just sounds creepy.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry, that was mean. But it does sound sinister. Really. Maybe it’s the accent on the "a"? Look, I’m sorry about all the hoovering lately. And the mop of death to cobwebs. It’s just, I need my deposit back, you know?”
“Oh. Yeah. The music. That is kind of annoying, I know. But the internet’s been cancelled, and I’m left with what’s on this knackered laptop.”
“I agree. I mean, I don’t even understand why it has to be the soundtrack to Glee. I guess it’s fun? And Mercedes’ voice is pretty good.”
“But you’re right, it’s pretty irritating the 6th time around. And the Imogen Heap was making my voice weird.”
Baleful leg waggle.
“So… will you miss me?”
“Um. I’ll miss you? I mean, I’ll miss this flat. It’s been lovely.”
“I mean, I’ll really, really miss this lovely flat. Spiders, weird scritching and all.”
“I guess I’m supposed to be missing the amazing cultural opportunities, the buzz of life in a glamorous Central European city?”
Bob. Bob. Waggle. Bob. Bob.
“It is beautiful. Absolutely drop dead beautiful. And new location is… well… it means comparisons are pretty painful.”
“And I never really did take advantage of the many cultural opportunities. I mean, I hardly learned any Czech. I never learned to like beer or dumplings, or the finer nuances of Czech wine and Slivovice. I don’t own any interesting antiques, and I haven’t developed a deep knowledge of Czech landscape artists of the 19th century, or Nationalist poetry, or similar. Basically I’m a failure when it comes to living abroad.”
Backleg sproings a filament.
“But I’ll miss it. I’ll miss it so much.”
“Odd really, since it was supposed to be such a short stay. Five months… Seven years… I guess I’ve done a lot of growing? That’s good, right? That I took advantage of the growing and learning stuff?”
“You’re right, I could have grown anywhere. But I guess if you have to grow, it’s nice to do it somewhere pretty. There’s something very special about being able to walk somewhere beautiful and brush up against a memory. Good or bad.”
“But really, this move is good generally. Better job, closer to family, old friends, and so on. Nice to be back somewhere where I understand things easily, where things aren’t quite so hard.”
“Just that nothing is ever wholly good or wholly bad. Sometimes you have to give things up. Even really nice things. And it hurts even when it’s the right thing to do.”
“God, I’m going to miss it.”